Economics, Technology, Education

Compendium of posts written for JSTOR Daily.

The Recipe for Secession: What Makes Nations Leave, 3/23/2017

“Political Sociologist Michael Hechter has explored what the ingredients to a true secession are. His conclusion: secession doesn’t come from one event, but is borne of economic disparities, identity crises, legislative failure, and bad blood.”

How Tech Companies Got in The White House, 3/8/2017

“What gives technology its power isn’t solely its popularity, but its significance to the country’s progress. Tech companies do more than give us easy rides to the airport or fifteen different filters for our selfies. They are economic powerhouses, providing jobs, spurring innovation, conducting research, building a global brand and amassing wealth.”

Examining Trump’s Military Budget, 3/6/2017

“President Trump has declared his intention to increase Pentagon spending by 54 billion next year, reducing foreign aid and environmental programs. Trump’s announcement seems to follow a nationally accepted set of priorities. After all, in many ways the United States’ calling card is its strong military. It’s the second largest in the world (after China), and still considered the strongest. The US spends more on its military than the next seven top spending countries combined.”

The Ethical Case for Profits, 2/8/2017

The idea of a “role differentiated” profession is inherent in our culture. Good soldiers are judged by valor in the field—often manifested by taking human life. Doctors are judged less harshly for prioritizing work over family, if a patient’s health is in peril. Journalists may be considered socially conscious for breaking laws to uncover institutional corruption. Ethics are fluid; we weigh what values are sacrificed for what purpose when making judgements.

Marketing Immortality, 2/2/2017

“We’ve long been fascinated with the ideas of immortality and eternal youth. Around 220 BCE, Emperor Shihuangdi searched for the elixir of life. Juan Ponce de León searched for the Fountain of Youth in the 1500s, and in 1890, Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray sold his soul for a perpetually pretty face. The Methuselah Mouse Prize, an award granted to teams that engineer older and healthier mice, took the fantasy out of our myths and put it into our laboratories.”

How Political Events Change Currency Value, 1/27/2017

“Researchers, however, who have tackled the subject have agreed that political events—especially those in democratic societies—do play a role in a currency’s worth, which is not entirely welcome news. It is unnerving to think that the pound sterling, the US dollar, the yen, and the euro are as unstable and unpredictable as the global political landscape, when so much of our lives is inextricably linked to their value.”

Changing the Way We Die, 1/25/2017

The end of our lives is deeply discomfiting, but a reluctance to broach the subject does not influence its inevitability. As Miller’s approach shows, easing one of the most difficult of processes may not be as complex or impossible as we imagine, if we develop the courage to confront it.

What Makes a Career Prestigious, 12/12/2016

“The philosophers, artists and writers of today are not held in the same cultural esteem as they were in the eighteenth century. Airline hostesses, once glamour personified, now simply have a job like the rest of us, albeit it at 10,000 feet. After 2008, bankers fell from grace. Conversely, in the last decade, the ambitious might consider becoming software developers or entrepreneurs just as much as doctors or lawyers.”


Feature photo by Drew Coffman, courtesy of Unsplash.


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